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MCD to work with CMA on merger queries

Live Nation UK chairman Denis Desmond will work to "allay concerns", as the national competition authority questions LN-Gaiety’s acquisition of MCD Productions

By Anna Grace on 11 Jul 2019

CMA questions LNG-MCD merger

LN-Gaiety-owned festival Electric Picnic


image © Electric Picnic

A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation has found that the proposed takeover of Irish promoter MCD Productions by LN-Gaiety Holdings (LNG) raises competition concerns in Northern Ireland.

LNG – a joint venture between Live Nation UK and Gaiety Investments – announced its plans to acquire MCD Productions in August. Denis Desmond, Live Nation’s chairman in the UK and Ireland owns both Gaiety Investments and MCD Productions, although the latter has remained independent.

According to the CMA, there are “only a few rival music promoters in the region”, and the majority of these sell tickets to events via Live Nation-owned ticketing platform Ticketmaster.

“If it [Live Nation] were to acquire MCD,” reads a CMA statement, “it may be able to stop rival promoters selling tickets through that platform post-merger.”

The CMA believes such an outcome could reduce the promotion services available to artists, drive up ticket prices and limit the live music events on offer.

“If Live Nation were to acquire MCD, it may be able to stop rival promoters selling tickets through that platform post-merger”

The regulator states that other aspects of the companies’ businesses, such as music festivals and access to venues, does not raise competition concerns.

If LN-Gaiety and MCD fail to address CMA’s concerns, the watchdog will undertake a secondary investigative phase.

Desmond comments that “we will work with the CMA to allay any concerns they have.”

The UK watchdog began investigations into the LNG-MCD merger in May, following in the footsteps of its Irish counterpart the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

The CCPC cleared the acquisition earlier this week, after a ten-month investigation.

 


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